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Having her own mother watch Belfast was the most special thing for Caitriona Balfe!

Winner of the People’s Choice Award at the Toronto Film Festival, Kenneth Branagh’s Belfast starring Caitriona Balfe and Jamie Dornan is ready to win our hearts as it did with Caitriona Balfe ‘s, who was very happy to have her mother with her at the premiere!

Despite her initial absence from public events promoting the movie alongside fellow co-star Jamie Dornan and director Kenneth Branagh due to recently giving birth to her first-born, Caitriona Balfe caught up with a nice chat with EW in which she had the opportunity to share her point of view on Belfast and how she revised so much of her personal story in that of the protagonist and how happy she was that her mother joined her at the movie’s premiere!

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The Irish actress, best known for her leading role in the STARZ time travel drama Outlander, plays Ma, a loving and protective mother of a 9-year-old who does everything to protect her family in the midst of the social upheavals that populated Northern Ireland at the time. The figure of Ma, as repeated several times by the director Kenneth Branagh, is clearly built on the figure of the director’s mother.

He sent me the script before we’d spoken. It’s so full of heart, I got emotional reading it. As I said to him the first time we spoke, Ma just felt so familiar to me. You can’t help but think about your own childhood, your own mother. It touched me. On one of our first days together, Ken had me, Judi [Dench], Ciarán [Hinds], and Jamie in a room together, and we talked about our upbringings. Ken asked lots of questions, we all shared. Even though this is Ken’s story, he wanted us to connect with the things personal to us, and find similarities between ourselves and his parents.

Caitriona Balfe on her personal connection with the story told on Belfast

In a recent interview for the Los Angeles premiere of the movie, Caitriona Balfe remarked how happy she was to be able to have her mother with her at the premiere of Belfast.

“It was very special to me [watching Belfast with her mother], it was the first she has ever come to and there’s so much in her that I drew from for my performance. […] [After watching Belfast] My mom turned around me and she said ‘I mean, I didn’t want the film to end’ and that was the most special thing that I heard.”

Caitriona Balfe

Another undeniable element within this film, which we can’t wait to see, is the presence of an extraordinary ensemble cast. Not to mention the emotional layers built by Caitriona and Jamie [Dornan] as Ma and Pa.

The actress didn’t hesitate to praise her co-stars who made the experience on set even better. In particular, she talked about her beautiful relationship with Jamie Dornan, with whom she filmed most of her scenes, including one of the most anticipated scenes between the two – the dance one.

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It was great […] Ken is so amazing, obviously we had the scene on the page, but he’ll let you play. There was freedom in it. […] One of the things Ken emphasized was how these people love fiercely and laugh fiercely. Even if they’re arguing one minute, the next they’re dancing and kissing. Life is big and full, and Jamie and I enjoyed playing around with that.

Our first day together, we had a dance rehearsal for two people. Now that I’ve seen him dance on a beach in Barb and Star… He was like, “Oh, I can’t dance,” and I’m definitely not somebody who learns choreography well, so if there was ever a good bonding moment, stick two people who claim to not dance very well together for dance rehearsals!

He’s one of those annoying people where he was like, “I’m never going to get this!” and then the day of filming, he just busted it out and I was the one making mistakes. He was perfect! It was good fun. Any time you get to do stuff like that, it’s freeing and fun. And it’s such a beautiful point in the movie. We watched Jude [Hill] while they filmed his close-up reactions to us dancing, and Jamie and I stood there like two proud parents. He’s so amazing and looked so angelic, but going through this whole range of emotions that Ken prompted. We were like, “Our son!”

Caitriona Balfe on the environment on set and her relationship with co-star Jamie Dornan

Watch Jamie Dornan seradating to Caitriona Balfe in an exclusive clip from Belfast!

Although, unfortunately, she didn’t have the opportunity to speak directly with Branagh’s parents, Caitriona says she had a great help in playing Ma: talking with Ken Branagh’s brother and sister. In addition, she explains that she also put her own touch in her performance, channeling part of her childhood experience in Ireland into the character of Ma.

Even though I didn’t grow up in Belfast or in the North, we were in such proximity that we were affected by it. Whereas Ma and Pa left Belfast, my dad, who was a police sergeant, was transferred to the border when I was a baby. Our lives were completely shaped by it. My mom left her close community in a very similar way to Ma. My mom has eight siblings, and she left all of them in this close-knit community to go and be on the border where my dad worked. We weren’t welcomed initially, because the police were regarded with a lot of suspicion and people in that area weren’t sympathetic to a provisional army.

Doing the research, I watched so much footage from that time. When you see how your own people and these communities were just destroyed by this ridiculous sectarianism and ideology, and people who use that to drive wedges between people who’d lived completely peacefully for years, it’s heartbreaking… that conflict is still going on. But obviously there was the Good Friday Agreement and the peace process in ’98, which I was very much aware of at the time I was in Ireland.

I know Jamie and Ciarán are from Belfast, and Judi’s mother is Irish, so we all felt a soulful connection to the movie.

Caitriona Balfe on how she chanalized her personal experience in Ireland while playing Ma in the movie

As announced by the production studio Focus Film a few months ago, Belfast will be out in theatres next November 12!

Though, the movie, Belfast, is already in the sights of the Hollywood Foreign Press and Academy as one of the potential nominees for Best Pictures at the 2022 Oscars, not to mention for Best Leading Actor and Actress considering what a great performance Jamie Dornan and Caitriona Balfe gave.

Are you looking forward to this wonderful film, Belfast, starring Caitriona Balfe and Jamie Dornan? If you’re not familiar with what’s the movie dealing with yet, take a look at our dedicated articles!

Keep following us for more news on Outlander Season 6 and its cast!


Source: EW

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Chiara Lombatti
Chiara Lombatti
When Cristina Yang’s mankind hate, and Sherlock Holmes’ deductive skills meet Randall Pearson’s anxiety and Jamie Fraser’s multilingualism (featuring Claire Fraser’s curls and Kate Pearson’s voice). Translator and feature article with a great love for cinema, TV series and books.


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